Innovation: The Mother Of Disruption (#FigDigConf Panel Teaser)

by Gillian Ingram Figaro Digital

Out of the exciting line up set to grace the stage at the Figaro Digital Marketing Conference on 20 July, one session is poised to unfold a torrent of fresh insights from a selection of key marketers disrupting the digital space with their agile start-up businesses. The Founders’ Panel will bring together four of the industry’s rising entrepreneurs to share their insight, and discuss what lessons have been learned from the legacies of their industry competitors.  Figaro Digital spoke to two of the panel’s participants to get a sneak peek at the themes and lessons to be learned from this unique and valuable session.

End-To-End Reassurance

Rachel Carrell is the CEO of Koru Kids, a nanny share service connecting parents with flexible, affordable childcare. Advocates of the sharing economy, Koru Kids joins families together via dual-family nannies, reducing cost, increasing value and giving working parents peace of mind. Having struggled to find childcare herself, Carrell identified a gap in the market for a new kind of childcare other than nurseries, single-family nannies or childminders, which aren’t practical for many families. The shared nanny service is unique in its character, and has a meticulous digital strategy to match. An end-to-end focus is vital to reassure the parents using the service. Carrell will outline how brands should maintain a high degree of control over all aspects of the user journey. “Childcare services are based on a really delicate relationship, so making sure this is seamless is a priority for us.”

Breaking The Industry Stereotypes

Dylan Bourguignon, CEO of disruptive insurance provider so-sure, is another entrepreneur making waves in a stagnated industry by introducing a new innovative product. Frustrated by the now-commonplace poor customer experience offered by insurance companies, so-sure seeks to re-establish this vital consumer/service relationship, based on mutual trust and fostering a sense of community. so-sure believes in providing an amazing claim experience when you claim, and getting up to 80% money back when you and your friends don’t claim. “We’re dealing with an industry that is staunched in its ways and is therefore challenged to act nimbly,” explains Bourguignon. “We are disrupting this by completely re-designing the product and user experience, delivering it in a new way.” Understanding the consumer’s current frustrations with the industry, and figuring out the language, product and messaging needed to reform that relationship, is an important factor to so-sure’s marketing strategy, and one that Bourguignon will unpack further during the panel discussion. “We want the consumer to resonate with us as a brand rather than just what they already associate as the industry norm.”

A Product-Led Approach

For the founders on our panel, the approach to product marketing, and especially digital, is informed by the wins and losses of the current mainstream players- the well-established brands whose existence has before now been relatively unchallenged. Inspired by these weighty competitors, Carrell and Bourguignon understand the need for a revised approach to marketing. “It is the approach to product (or lack thereof) that really separates big organisations and start-ups,” says Bourguignon. “Large organisations tend to look at marketing and product in different teams and not as an integrated entity. Whereas start-ups will look at marketing as the grassroots of the whole set-up, driven from the product side – it really shapes the way we communicate.” Attendees at the panel session will learn more about the division between funnel and product which is, according to our founders, hampering the ability of brands to remain agile and adapt to the changing needs of the consumer. “There are a lot of brands trying to achieve cut-through, but they are also competing with a lot of amateurism,” says Carrell. “From a customer experience point of view we spend a lot of time thinking about the delivered service. We take responsibility for the whole experience end-to-end, both on and offline. Having control of the whole process is really important to secure the integrity of the product.”

Walk The Walk

As start-ups continue to undermine their rivals by redesigning and reiterating their experience around the customer’s expectations, maintaining a seamless journey from acquisition to purchase is vital. There are a number of ways brands continue to attempt this, some more successful than others. “Technology is being banded around left, right and centre at the moment, which means two things are at stake:” says Bourguignon. “Firstly, innovation is creating technology for technology’s sake, which is not very customer centric. The second is poor execution. There are a lot of ideas, but these are misaligned when it comes to employees and organisations working together to implement them”. Heritage brands with long histories and long-serving teams can sometimes be resistant to change, and a fear of failure can deter individuals from suggesting new approaches and technologies. During the panel, the founders will share how you can overcome this barrier, or work this status quo to your brand’s advantage.

The start-ups of the Founders’ Panel, however, have grown with this mentality at heart, influencing their decisions and intent. As Carrell will explain, making the right decisions about platform choice and distribution is not necessarily about investing in technology, but approaching from the direction that offers consumers the best opportunities to engage. “The most useful thing we have used to grow has actually been Facebook groups – not Facebook advertising – but actually engaging in the groups in a really targeted way, talking to people. The organic reach has really assisted our growth as a business – we currently have 30-40 thousand highly targeted users interacting via Facebook.” Carrell will share how Koru Kids have leveraged the community-nurturing aspects of social, and how these can nurture the engagement of your users.

Word Of Mouth

Both Carell and Bourguignon will outline the reasons that brands should be cautious when approaching various platforms for engaging consumers; remaining wary of the differing capabilities, and audiences, of each one. While social media platforms like Twitter might be less viable in terms of commercial return, they can be a great way to engage users in conversation. “In the financial service space we are sending messages out, but to really gain trust it must be done with seamless execution. Marketing is so much less important in the early days of a business– word of mouth is stronger,” explains Bourguignon. And the ephemeral nature of Twitter content is eerily similar to this “word of mouth” concept. Carrell explains that having a presence on Twitter is more about “being seen” than anything else. “Twitter is a bit of an echo chamber for journalists. Posts shared on there are predominantly to attract the attention of journalists and build some name recognition so that a brand stands out when it sends across a press release. We are using it quite a lot for this, and it is reaching the extent where social media is verging onto digital PR.”

Come And Meet Our Panellists

Joining Carrell and Bourguignon on the Founders panel are two more entrepreneurs of the start-up world; Rob O’Donovan, the CEO and Co-Founder of HR Software provider CharlieHR, founded ‘start-up studio’ The Eleven aged 17, and since then played a part in the creation of several new start-ups. CharlieHR is a platform which aims to enable businesses to take a human approach to their admin, and in turn simplifying the HR process for other budding start-ups. Nikhil Shah, the Co-Founder and Commercial Director of Mixcloud, is a graduate of Cambridge University, where he met the fellow co-founders that would bring the digital audio streaming platform to life. Mixcloud connects keen listeners to a huge array of new music through radio shows, DJ mixes and podcasts, uploaded by its network of over one million curators. This unique connection of content has endless opportunities to connect audiences with new products and inspiring musical content. The panel will be chaired by Pete Ward, CEO of WAYN (part of Group) whose experience in the social travel space makes him an excellent fit to talk about innovation as a disruptive force among traditional brands.

It’s clear that these digitally native brands are already experienced at negotiating the challenging array of digital products and concepts currently available to marketers. By staying ahead of the curve and being carefully selective with their choice of platforms, technologies and messaging, the faces of our Founders’ Panellists will show you how they have been able to offer a high-quality user experience, setting their businesses apart in their respective competitive sectors, and giving you valuable insights to shake up your digital approach.


One thing is for certain – you don’t want to miss the Founders’ Panel at our Summer Conference! Join us in the Wolfson Theatre on 20 July for a session packed with the latest trends, tactical manoeuvres and real lessons from the start-up coalface. So what are you waiting for? Get your tickets now! Read the agenda, and find out more about the day’s expert speakers speakers here.